Advancing Shade Equity in LA’s Koreatown

Koreatown is one of Los Angeles's densest and most park-poor communities. A privately funded tree planting initiative will bring some much needed greenery and shade to the area.

1 minute read

October 3, 2023, 11:00 AM PDT

By Clement Lau

Aerial view of residential buildings in Koreatown, Los Angeles with downtown skyline in background

Koreatown, Los Angeles. | BKP / Adobe Stock

Shade equity is typically defined as fairness or justice in the way people have access to tree shade in their neighborhood regardless of factors like race, ethnicity, income, etc. As reported by Josie Huang, there is now a privately-funded tree planting initiative to bring some greenery and shade to Koreatown in Los Angeles. 

To date, Koreatown Youth + Community Center has raised over $600,000 as part of its plan to speed up the rate of tree planting in the neighborhood, most of the money so far coming from a K-Pop impresario who has made L.A. his second home. The non-profit currently plants about 1,000 trees annually through a $1 million contract with the city, and expects to add another 1,000 trees in the coming year through the privately-funded initiative. The hope is to exceed a $1 million fundraising goal for the first year, so the program can continue for several years.

Koreatown is one of Los Angeles' most park poor and densest communities. According to the 2016 L.A. Countywide Parks Needs Assessment, Koreatown only has 0.1 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents which is significantly lower than the countywide average of 3.3 acres per 1,000 residents. Also, only 39% of Koreatown residents live within walking distance (half-mile) of a park, which is noticeably below the countywide average of 49%.

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